NIO Limited (NIO), China's electric vehicle manufacturer, has launched a pre-owned car service this week after a six-month trial as its competition with the most valuable U.S. automaker is heating up. NIO, which has received government funding as recently as last year to support its long-term growth, has built a "nationwide network for used car businesses, providing such services as vehicle inspection, evaluation, acquisition and sales," according to a Chinese news site.

The Future Is Ahead

The company, which also has a band and an "NIO theme song" called "The Future Is Ahead," takes part in the FIA Formula E Championship, the first all-electric racing series. The new offering is meant to introduce a "healthy battery-sharing mechanism" and address users' concerns about battery degradation, the local news site reported, citing the company.

"The launch of NIO Certified marked the closure of the service loop throughout the life cycle of NIO cars," the company said in a statement, according to a report by Benzinga. NIO said that it delivered 75,641 vehicles as of last year.

The latest rollout and upcoming NIO Day on Jan. 9 are introduced amid intensifying pressure with Tesla, Inc. (TSLA). This week has been a big one for Tesla, with founder Elon Musk becoming the world's richest person and Tesla becoming the most valuable U.S. carmaker of all time, according to analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

Overall, NIO successfully navigated uncertainty of this year and beat quarterly guidance, delivering 17,353 vehicles in the quarter ending in December 2020, representing 111% growth from a year before.

On Saturday, NIO plans to unveil its new sedan as a part of NIO Day. The new sedan will be "NIO's first flagship sedan with the latest autonomous driving technologies and the 150 kWh battery pack, second-generation swap stations, and other core technologies," according to the company's website.

NIO's competition with Tesla is only likely to intensify further this year, with electric vehicle (EV) market growth and geopolitical winds continuing to line up in NIO's favor.